HTC unveils Sprint Evo 4G LTE

HTC was the first to offer a Wimax-powered 4G phone on Sprint, and it will also be the first to bring 4G LTE to the carrier.

Last night at a media event in New York City, HTC and Sprint lifted the veil on the HTC Evo 4G LTE, which they hope will bring the mobile service provider back in the limelight when it comes to high-speed data.

The new phone packs in a 1.5 GHz Snapdraggon S4 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of memory. It also includes an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.3-megapixel front camera. The display measures in at 4.7 inches.

The phone comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich built-in, and supports the powerful Beats audio platform. And just like the Evo 4G introduced back in 2009, the Evo 4G LTE has a kickstand for users who want to prop up the phone when watching a movie or listening to music.

Among the other major features of the device are its inclusion of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for seamless data sharing and mobile payments and support for “HD voice,” a new network that aims to improve voice quality on its nationwide service area.

Sprint was the first carrier to bring high-speed 4G mobile data to the US, using the standard known as Wimax. That managed to bring all sorts of headlines and media attention to Sprint, and lifted its presence for a couple years.

But then, a new standard called LTE (Long Term Evolution) emerged. Rival carrier Verizon, which didn’t enter the 4G game until last year, was the first to adopt this new standard, which offers significantly faster speeds than Wimax.

As a result, even though it was the last major carrier to offer 4G service, Verizon quickly leapfrogged ahead, leaving Sprint in the dust.

Sprint is now catching up, though. It rolled out its own LTE network to test cities earlier this year and is working to expand that as quickly as possible. The Evo 4G LTE goes up for pre-order on May 7, and the device will be released later in the second quarter.